Optimal nutrition: Needs vary between the sexes

BOSTON, MA — When it comes to optimal nutrition, men and women have different considerations. The distinctions are subtle, but they may affect a man's health, reports the September issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch. Here are some of the differences:

Fat. Monounsaturated fats are healthful for both men and women; olive oil is a good source. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are also good for both sexes. But a vegetable-based omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), found in canola and flaxseed oils, may be a problem for men. ALA is good for the heart, but some studies suggest it may increase the risk of prostate cancer. For men with heart risks, ALA may be a good choice—but men with more reason to worry about prostate cancer should get their omega-3s from fish and their vegetable fats from olive oil.

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